Lyrics became a symbolic means of protest for jazz musicians, with one
anthem of the early civil rights movement being Billie Holiday’s song Strange Fruit, which tells of the lynching of two black men. She sings: “Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze / Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees”, juxtaposing this violent image with the idyllic South filled with “Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh / Then the sudden smell of burning flesh”.
Through her achievements, Melba Liston became a gender equality icon in the male-dominated jazz world. She was the only female trombonist in the industry to bear comparison with the best of her male counterparts.
As racism and segregation imposed limits on the potential to recruit the most creative people, jazz promoted equality in that musicians were judged on their skill and abilities alone, not by the colour of their skin. Interracial ensembles in jazz were therefore not uncommon.
Thelonious Monk took his music to rallies, raised money for civil rights groups by performing benefit concerts, and
he might have even
scared the establishment with the artwork of his provocative, politically charged 1968 album sleeve for Underground, which depicts him as a machine gun-wielding, piano- playing resistance fighter, with the background alluding to a racist US state as a Nazi state.
An estimated one in five children or more around the world suffer some form of sexual violence, with abusers in the overwhelming majority of cases being somebody the child knows and trusts.